Polling Place: Do voters believe the Cubs’ Kris Bryant will keep building on his strong start?
A healthy Bryant is a comfortable Bryant, and a comfortable Bryant is … wait, where did all these skeptics and cynics come from?
Kris Bryant leads the Cubs in hits (20), extra-base hits (11), average (.313) and OPS (1.041). That, friends, is what’s known in the business as not stinking.
But will the good times last for the 2015 National League Rookie of the Year and 2016 MVP whose stardom has dimmed the last two-plus seasons — and whose contract with the Cubs is set to expire at season’s end? That question was front and center in this week’s “Polling Place,” your home for Chicago Sun-Times sports polls on Twitter.
“As long as he’s healthy, yes,” @TheBlogfines said. “He’s always a star when healthy.”
That’s pretty much on the money.
“Not only is KB the best hitter on the Cubs when healthy,” @rljimb23 wrote, “he’s the most valuable offensive player in the -National League when so.”
That might be a bit of an overstatement.
We also asked about White Sox sensation Yermin Mercedes and — try to stay awake during this last part — NL pitchers batting for themselves again. On to the polls:
Poll No. 1: The Cubs’ Kris Bryant is off to a strong start. Will he keep it up?
Time again for our weekly "Polling Place" questions. Let us hear from you! Selected comments will appear in Saturday's paper.— Chicago Sun-Times (@Suntimes) April 22, 2021
Q1: The Cubs’ Kris Bryant is off to a strong start. Will he keep it up?
Upshot: A healthy Bryant is a comfortable Bryant, and a comfortable Bryant is … wait, where did all these skeptics and cynics come from? It seems some have made up their minds that Bryant is soft, injury prone, un-clutch, unhappy or an unflattering combination thereof. But there are still others who want to give him a full 162-game chance before sizing him up — and the results could be mighty impressive.
Poll No. 2: White Sox DH Yermin Mercedes is hitting close to .400 and slugging well over 1.000. Who is this guy?
Q2: White Sox DH Yermin Mercedes is hitting close to .400 and slugging well over 1.000. Who is this guy?— Chicago Sun-Times (@Suntimes) April 22, 2021
Upshot: At 28, he’s no kid. At 5-11, 250, he’s no Baryshnikov. Nowhere near the top of MLB Pipeline’s Sox prospect rankings, he might fade into the background or even disappear. But — man — has it been fun to watch him so far. That swing, that smile, that fearlessness after taking such a long road to the big leagues? As @chi73girl put it, “He’s worked too hard to be a one-shot wonder.”
Poll No. 3: If you ruled baseball, would National League pitchers keep taking their turns at bat in 2022 and beyond?
Q3: if you ruled baseball, would National League pitchers keep taking their turns at bat in 2022 and beyond?— Chicago Sun-Times (@Suntimes) April 22, 2021
Upshot: “If you’d rather watch a pitcher hit instead of a hitter hit,” @MSMS247 offered, “then you’re an idiot.” Yeah, well, maybe some of us like the strategic levers that must be pulled when the pitcher is in the lineup. Maybe some of us appreciate the quick at-bats that keep some of these interminable games moving. Maybe some of us don’t like change, are old and cranky and … oh, never mind.